Delbonis Denies Coric For Marrakech Crown

Argentine earns his second ATP World Tour title

Federico Delbonis will return to the Top 40 of the Emirates ATP Rankings following a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Borna Coric in the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II on Sunday.

"I'm very happy to win again on the ATP World Tour," said Delbonis. "I played at a great level today and it's great to lift the trophy here. I took my chances, but it was not easy. In the end, I did my job and got the victory. This is what I work for. To win at this level, you have to be mentally focused the whole match."

The 25-year-old Argentine claimed his second ATP World Tour title, following his maiden triumph more than two years ago on the clay of Sao Paulo in 2014. Seeded fourth, Delbonis fired four aces and saved all three break points faced to emerge with the Marrakech trophy, denying Coric's bid to become the first teen titlist on the ATP World Tour since 2008.

The 19 year old looked to be up to the task in the early stages, but Delbonis' consistency from the baseline gave the Croat little margin for error. Delbonis secured the first break of the match in the fourth game, as a Coric backhand found the net, and he would proceed to claim the opener 6-2 after 42 minutes.

Both players remained on serve through the first eight games of the second set, before Coric put himself on the brink of forcing a decider. A Delbonis unforced error gave him two break points at 15/40, but the Argentine rose to the occasion, denying both and reeling off 10 of the next 13 points to snatch the victory after one hour and 29 minutes. A break to 15 would seal the win for the Argentine, who became the first player from his country to prevail at the Grand Prix Hassan II since Mariano Puerta in 2005.

Delbonis takes home €82,450 in prize money and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points. He is projected to rise to World No. 36, just two spots off his career-high position. The Argentine entered Marrakech in top form after stunning Andy Murray in the third round of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells last month. Delbonis proceeded to not drop a set all week in the Moroccan city, joining doubles champions Guillermo Duran and Maximo Gonzalez in an all-Argentine winners' circle.

One of nine ATP World Tour titlists born in the 1990s, Delbonis' victory accounts for title No. 27 in the group. Coric, meanwhile, fell in his quest for a first crown in his second attempt. The NextGen star previously lost to Stan Wawrinka in the Chennai title match to open the season. He earns €43,430 in prize money and 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points. Coric climbs six spots to No. 42.

"It was a tough match for me today," said Coric. "I didn’t find any solutions. I had an opportunity in the second set but unfortunately I couldn’t break him. Nevertheless, I’m happy with my start in the clay season and I’m looking forward to Monte-Carlo."

Both Delbonis and Coric will next compete in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, which began on Sunday. The Argentine opens against 2010 runner-up Fernando Verdasco, while the Croat faces Philipp Kohlschreiber, with a potential Wawrinka rematch looming in the second round.